We reported back in September that the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) set out a call for views on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand the implications AI might have for Intellectual Property (IP) policy. The UKIPO set out questions relating to each of: patents, copyright, designs, trade marks, and trade secrets. In the government’s words, the aim of the call for views was to understand the relationship between AI and IP. It did not seek to consider the impact of concepts such as AI superintelligence, or an AI as a legal entity. The call for views indicated a willingness to listen, and it was hoped that this would be beneficial for patentees, as well as the AI industry as a whole.
Insights: Artifical Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to be in the news in the Intellectual Property world.In a recent development in the UK, a decision to refuse an AI patent application was heard at appeal by the UK High Court. Interestingly, the appellant was unrepresented at the High Court hearing the judgement was remotely handed down on 22 January 2021.
With Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly relevant to our daily lives, many inventors are looking to gain patent protection for their technology. As discussed in our previous insight here, there are extra considerations to bear in mind when seeking patent protection for an AI invention in Europe. However AI patent applications can be, and are being, granted at the European Patent Office.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years around how the patent system can be applied to, and indeed may need to be adapted in light of, artificial intelligence and related technologies. Indeed, our previous blogs have covered everything from the basics of AI patentability to whether AI can be designated as an inventor. There are also a number of reports and ongoing reviews into the subject, with most of the attention focused on how the patent system can help AI. However, a report from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has turned that question around, and asked how AI can help the patent system.
Innovations in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are typically implemented in software and so can be challenging to patent at the European Patent Office. Firstly, patent protection for the invention must not be ruled out by the “software as such” exclusion of Article 52 EPC, and the invention must therefore solve a notional “technical problem”. Secondly, it must be possible to reduce an often complicated inventive concept to a single paragraph of text that can act as a patent claim. By way of illustration, this article looks at the patented smart home technology behind Nest Lab’s (“Nest”) learning thermostat, and explores how innovative start-ups can effectively protect their inventions.
In June 2019, the European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office), the China National Intellectual Property Administration and United States Patent and Trademark Office, collectively the “IP5”, launched a joint task force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence. The task force’s first meeting was held 15/16 January 2020 in Berlin, which the European Patent Office plan to develop into a centre of expertise on Artificial Intelligence. At the first meeting, the EPO Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs acknowledged the ubiquitous nature of artificial intelligence and other new emerging technologies and the challenges that presents in intellectual property.